Australia is celebrating the International Year of Cooperatives by issuing a stamp and a coin. The commemorative stamp was officially launched at a ceremony held recently in Melbourne, which was attended by Dame Pauline Green, the President of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA). The stamp sheets come with an envelope and mailer as well as a postcard featuring the nine cooperative sectors active in Australia: manufacturing, worker, art and handicrafts, retail, real estate, energy, health, automobile, agrifood and finance. The collectible, uncirculated $1 gold coin created by the Royal Australian Mint was released in November 2011. Australia is the only nation in the world to create a coin and stamp to mark the International Year of Cooperatives. The stamp and coin are the result of representations by various partners, including Australia’s Secretariat for the International Year of Cooperatives. More than just symbols According to ICA President Dame Pauline Green, these actions are not mere symbols, but are part of a much broader initiative undertaken by Australia to promote the cooperative business model. In fact, the banking reforms that the Australian government introduced in 2010 should lead to the adoption of legislation in 2012 that will create a regulatory framework to strengthen financial and mutual cooperatives. By the end of 2012, a new cooperative organization called the Australian business council for co-operative and mutual businesses is also expected to be set up thanks to the efforts of Australia’s Secretariat for the International Year of Cooperatives and the ICA.